‘Ahlan Wa Sahlan’, was the title of a solo virtual art exhibition which Harini Kumar, a contemporary artist, chose named for her expo. An artist who works with a variety of mediums, she relocated to Chennai in south India from Muscat due to the pandemic last year.
She had left behind a few of her paintings in the Sultanate of Oman with a family friend hoping to come back sometime and fulfill her dream of holding a physical exhibition.
Worried at how she would have to exhibit her works for the audience was answered through a solo virtual art exhibition that she named ‘Ahlan wa Sahlan’, with paintings based on the Sultanate of Oman.
Many of them have been painted in the last couple of years using acrylic, oils and charcoal and they identify closely with her emotional connection to the country that was her home for the last 27 years.
Harini says that the Sultanate of Oman played a major role in her artistic growth.
Her evolution as an artist with a distinctive style can be observed in many of her paintings.
“I grew from being just a novice to an artist who can curate major exhibitions. It was my dream to pay tribute to this beautiful country by staging a solo exhibition in Muscat.”
Harini had earlier held virtual group exhibitions as part of Rangrez Oman, an art wing of the Indian Social Club (ISC) Muscat. She was also the first to curate the first online exhibition, ‘All Creatures Great and Small,’ and also participated in a couple of online exhibitions in the UAE that helped her to develop skills at creating and curating virtual exhibitions.
Harini exhibited about 10 works for the online expo and titled ‘The Thawing’ and Feminine Facets, Family Portraits, 1 and 2, all acrylic on canvas relating to the Sultanate of Oman.
She prefers to call herself a ‘cubist expressionist.’ A passionate illustrator who uses pen and ink, pencils and other mediums for her illustrations, she is also a graphic designer and digital artist.
Harini’s works on Cubism involve defragmented, faceted strokes and forms. She is also well versed with semi-abstract expressionist style, with the use of vivid colours and dynamic brush strokes.
Her virtual expo work on ‘Feminine Facets’ portrays different facets of the women of the Sultanate of Oman.
“They are demurely attired but are very dynamic and have so many talents, many are so successful in what they do. They are empowered, and extremely self-assured and confident”
The paintings are a salute to the successful women of the country which she loves very much.
“Diagonal lines lead our eyes to the centre of the image in which we see the face of a woman surrounded by a lot of figures seemingly portraying different roles in life,” she adds.
“The Thawing is a completely abstract depiction of the melting of snow and frost in icy climate. We see a lot of stalactite and stalagmite-like elements that seem to break away into tiny bits floating away in the water that has formed because of melting. Dark and light strips of grey, white and brown, along with crisscrossing lines draw emphasis to the forms, the barks of the trees, the lines of part water and part ice and add to the atmosphere of a cold wintry setting,” she explains.
Her paintings on the Family Portrait depict family members sitting together as though posing for a portrait. “The body postures convey the regal bearing of the families rather than through the facial features which have been deliberately left out,” she says.
She adds that from “the rich colours we can presume that this is nobility. In the Sultanate of Oman, the importance of family is tremendous and there is a real bonding between the members of the family which is quite apparent in my paintings.”
Ramesh, owner and founder of Orbit Event Management, had approached Harini with a unique idea of holding her own solo virtual exhibition. She could not have got a better title than ‘Ahlan wa Sahlan’ which was welcomed with enthusiasm. Saiju Victor of Spectrum Solutions played a major role towards the success of the exhibition. Reena Jain, First Secretary (Culture), of the Indian Embassy in Oman, was the guest of honour for the virtual exhibition.